IT’S SORT OF FUNNY that as hot is it is out on the water this month; summertime is when there are more people doing it than any other time of the year.
Vacation time and the seasonal break in various hunting seasons are probably two of the main reasons we see so many summertime anglers. However, it can certainly be downright uncomfortable.
August tends to be the absolute hottest month of the year in our part of Texas. It can be extremely difficult for many coastal anglers to find their speckled trout limits on a regular basis. Anglers can do a few things, however, that will help produce full boxes of late-summer trout under these somewhat stressful conditions.
There’s hot, and then there’s August!
Bay water temperatures fluctuate between nighttime and the heat of the daylight sun, but they don’t ever really “cool down” much at all. The water stays warm night and day.
Regardless, overnight darkness drops water temps in shallow flats areas by at least a couple degrees. This can make a huge difference to the trout.
Anglers fishing shallow flats just prior to sunrise, often stand a much greater chance at some fast-paced success—until the morning sun hits the water. Once that happens, the baitfish and the trout typically fall off the flats into deeper water in search of cooler temps.
If cloud cover is present at sunrise, the trout bite along the flats might last a little longer. Try using smaller baits in this skinny water, as the bigger baits may simply make too much noise.
If top water fishing is your game, try baits such as the Super Spook Junior, or the Skitter Walk Junior. Keep things small if you use plastic baits, as well. Try something like the smaller bull minnows with flapping tails, or even the ever-popular original shrimp tails. Just stay away from the bigger five- to six-inch baits.
Once the water on the flats gets hot and the trout begin their transition, they’re not going to want to travel any farther than they absolutely have to. So, look for the bite to continue in the nearest drop off area adjacent to the flat where you were fishing earlier in the morning. A couple of feet may be all it takes for the fish, so check things out good before moving on to even deeper water.
Once the trout decide on a deep-water spot, they’re going to search for the thermocline—the coolest portion of the water column—where they’ll hang out for the remainder of the day. The thermocline won’t necessarily be on the bottom, and it won’t be at the surface, so the fish will be suspended somewhere in between.
The trout won’t be able to see as well at these depths, so if you’re tossing artificial baits use bigger baits in really dark colors, which casts a much better silhouette in darker water, or bright colors that provide a greater contrast in murky water conditions.
Similarly, if you’re presenting live shrimp in deep water, change your cork to one that has some weight to it and that makes a lot of noise. Make sure to adjust your leader beneath your cork to a depth of at least four feet.
You might have to investigate a couple different depths before locating the strike zone, but once you find it, you should be able to reproduce the bite over and over again.
Moving water, or tides, will also help cool hot bay waters this month because water that’s moving is always cooler than water that’s standing still. Water movement, especially an incoming tide, helps bring cooler water into the bays through major Gulf passes.
Anglers who fish flats just adjacent to some of these passes can experience some great trout action when the tides are moving. Other summertime cool water options you might like to look into are shaded areas lsuch as oil or gas platform structures, bridges, and docks.
The shade provided by these structures can cool the water a few degrees, which is all it takes sometimes. Nighttime fishing is also an alternative.
This presents its own advantages and disadvantages that we’ll save for discussion at a later time. Right now, just remember the word “cool”, and learn to look for it at different times in different places throughout the course of each August day. Good luck, and be careful out there.
Email Chris Martin at [email protected]
or visit bayflatslodge.com